This is my almost-complete Archangel Michael, based on a 13th century Byzantine icon. It needs to dry for a few weeks and then get another layer or two of boiled linseed oil.
Why am I doing this? I’m excited to tell you that I’m enrolled in a fascinating online course, learning how to create patina.
I coveted the Farragoz course for over a year before taking the plunge.
Tania Rossouw of South Africa teaches the Farragoz Patina Projects online course. Students, working at their own pace, learn how to create aged-looking patina from scratch. Going through these steps also bolsters one’s ability and confidence to paint furniture using these techniques.
Take a look at the Farragoz video:
Tania guides students with step-by-step instructions to mix inexpensive milk paints, oil paints, tempera and more. The result, she assures us, is exquisite and unique decor objects.
I’ve got to tell you, gathering the supplies felt like a scavenger hunt: I don’t purchase hydrated lime, boiled linseed oil and other esoteric items on a regular basis. I printed out Tania’s helpful list and the hunt began.
The course consists of six modules that are well-organized and clearly written. Plenty of short videos demonstrate the steps along the way. Here are the six items I’ll be making:
Tania’s Archangel Michael is below. Obviously there are variations in every icon. The original icon resides in the Greek Orthodox St. Catherine Monastery in Egypt, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
My ability to draw is abysmal — I can make a passable stick figure. What I do possess is a good knowledge of art history. Byzantine icons, for example, present figures that tend to float and are elongated. They’re highly symbolic.
Working on my Archangel Michael icon gave me such joy. On the most basic level, I traced the image on a piece of wood, and colored in the lines. But I ground my pigment and mixed each color with boiled linseed oil — and discovered, much to my chagrin, that the drying time isn’t quick. Every step took time and concentration. Each morning I studied my emerging icon in the new day’s light and was amazed.
Part of Archangel Michael’s beauty comes from the cracks in the wood that emerged through layers of oil and milk. I inserted arrows to highlight some of those cracks.
I like how Tania advises students how to distress the piece. Create a story. Imagine your 13th century icon has been stolen several times, buried, and hidden in caves. That kind of trauma takes a toll on a painting.
My distressing looks timid compared to Tania’s icon, but I really pounded my Archangel with a wire brush. David thinks my brush was too small.
The Farragoz blog bursts with patina ideas taken from original ancient sources as well as Tania’s creations. Take a look at some of her patinas and mood boards:
The course costs $150, or $180 if you use the 3-payment method. When I saw the course offered at $99, I jumped on it. Registration allows access to Tania for one year. I can attest to her attention and availability. I had a frantic question and she emailed a reassuring message and suggestions in less than 24 hours.
David and I will be in England on Thursday, so the next Farragoz module will have to wait until our return. I’m eager to begin this clock face. There’s the option of actually turning it into a clock or just leaving the face.
We hope to stay in touch while across the pond. Your comments are always appreciated.
Ann Marie and David